PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - A Marcus Thornton step-back 3-pointer at the buzzer propelled the William and Mary men’s basketball team to a come-from-behind 68-66 victory at Drexel on Saturday afternoon. The Tribe trailed by nine points at the half, but scored the first 10 points of the second half to get back into the contest. A Chris Fouch leaner with 8.1 seconds remaining set the final sequence that allowed Thornton to gain space on the right side and knock down the winner with no time on the clock. W&M improved to 11-7 overall and 3-2 in CAA play, while Drexel fell to 10-9 on the year and 2-4 in league action.
Thornton led the Tribe with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including a 6-of-7 effort from 3-point range. He also added three assists compared to just one turnovers. Senior forward Tim Rusthoven finished with 15 points and five rebounds, while freshman Omar Prewitt just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
With nine and a half minutes remaining, Drexel led the Tribe, 57-50, before the Green and Gold reeled off 11 straight points. Rusthoven scored seven points during the run, including a 5-of-6 effort from the free throw line. Thornton threaded the needle on a pass to the Tribe senior forward for a lay-up to put W&M on top 58-57 with 6:22 left. A pair of Rusthoven free throws at the 5:07 mark extended the Tribe margin to 61-57.
Thornton knocked down a 3-pointer from the left side to give the Tribe a five-point cushion, 64-59, with three minutes remaining. Drexel though answered with a 3-pointer from Frantz Massenat that cut the deficit to 64-62 on the ensuing Dragon possession.
After a Fouch off-balance lay-up with just over a minute remaining cut the deficit to a single point, the Dragon guard made a huge play for the home side. With the shot clock off, Fouch knocked down a leaning one-hander in the lane to put the Dragons back in front, 66-65, with 8.1 seconds remaining.
Following a W&M timeout, Thornton came off a pick at halfcourt, made a move along the right side of the 3-point line and buried the tripled at the buzzer to give the Tribe the 68-66 victory. After the officials checked the monitor and confirmed the shot left Thornton’s hands in time, the W&M bench celebrated its fifth road win of the season.
The Tribe finished the game shooting 48.9 percent from the field (23-of-47) and was 8-of-15 from 3-point range (8-of-15). W&M held a distinct advantage at the free throw line, knocking down 14-of-20 (70 percent) from the charity stripe compared to 5-of-7 for the Dragons. Drexel shot 47.4 percent (27-of-57) from the floor, including a 7-of-17 effort from 3-point range (41.2 percent).
The game started out in back-and-forth fashion with neither team enjoying larger than a four-point lead until the later stages of the first half. W&M led 15-14 after Thornton found Rusthoven for a lay-up at the 10:56 mark. Drexel answered with back-to-back jumpers from Fouch and Massenat to give the home team a four-point advantage at the 8:28 mark.
A Massenat 3-pointer with 3:27 remaining in the opening half extend Drexel’s lead to five points, before a pair of Brandon Britt free throws closed the gap to 30-27. The Dragons scored six straight points from its post players, including four consecutive from Rodney Williams, to take its largest lead of the game at nine points. Drexel enjoyed the nine-point margin, 38-29, at the half.
Out of the locker room, W&M scored the opening 10 points to regain the lead. Senior Kyle Gaillard and Thornton bookended 3-pointers around four points from Rusthoven to give the Tribe a 39-38 lead at the 16:33 mark.
The Tribe led 43-42 following a Brandon Britt layup just over five minutes into the second half, before five straight Drexel points gave the home team the lead once again. A Massenat conventional 3-point play followed by a Fouch jumper gave Drexel a four-point cushion at the 13:48 mark.
A Britt cutting lay-up off a Rusthoven pass just under nine minutes into the second half cut the margin to three. Drexel again answered with four straight points off jumpers from Fouch and Freddie Wilson to push the margin back to seven points, 57-50, with 9:45 left in the contest.
Britt finished with nine points on 3-of-5 from the floor and 3-of-3 from the free throw line off the bench for the Tribe. Fouch led all scorers with 31 points as he hit on 12-of-23 from the floor and 5-of-11 from 3-point range. Massenat added 19 points and four assists before fouling out.
The Tribe returns to action when it opens up a two-game homestand on Monday, Jan. 27, against the College of Charleston. Tip-off is salted for 7 p.m. from Kaplan Arena, and the TribeAthletics TV HD stream can be purchased at TribeAthletics.com. Fans can also listen over the Tribe Radio Network with Jay Colley, Bill McDonald and Charlie Woollum on the call. The Tide 92.3 FM and 107.9 Bach FM are the flagship stations of the Tribe Radio Network and the audio feed can also be heard over the Web at TribeAthletics.com.